Carroll’s Upturn Gives England Selection Dilemma at Euro 2012
England striker Andy Carroll says he can hardly believe how his soccer fortunes have improved. The turnaround poses a European Championship selection “headache” tonight for national Manager Roy Hodgson.
He’s already helped England at the tournament, scoring with a powerful header in a 3-2 victory over Sweden four days ago. He was engulfed by his teammates in the kind of celebration he’s scarcely experienced at Liverpool, having scored six goals in 42 league games since joining in January 2011.
“Not really,” Carroll, 23, said in an interview when asked if he could believe his career upturn. “Obviously I didn’t have the best of seasons, but I’m here now and I’m giving it my best.”
England plays tournament co-host Ukraine in its last Group D match tonight. It’s alongside group leader France with four points and needs to avoid defeat to reach the quarterfinals. Ukraine, on three points, must win to advance.
Hodgson must decide whether to pick Carroll or Danny Welbeck to pair with Wayne Rooney in attack for the match in Donetsk. Rooney is returning after being suspended for the two opening games. Welbeck scored the winner with a flick of his heel against Sweden.
Roy Hodgson’s Headache
“It’s become a very difficult choice because both have done so well both in friendly matches before we came to the tournament, and the tournament itself,” Hodgson told reporters last night. “They’ve given me the classic manager’s headache. But it’s the headache we all want because it’s players who are in form and playing well and competing for a place.”
Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin said he’d love to have the same dilemma as Hodgson. His leading striker Andriy Shevchenko is only a “50-50″ chance to recover from a knee injury to play in the game and Ukraine doesn’t possess another player comparable to the 35-year-old Dynamo Kiev striker, who took the Ballon d’Or award as European soccer’s best player in 2004.
Against Sweden, Carroll ran past right-back Andreas Granqvist to power in Steven Gerrard’s deep cross in the 23rd minute. Playing regularly with his Liverpool teammate and captain meant that he knew where the ball would go.
“Steve’s got the ability to do that,” Carroll said. “So as soon as he put his head up and looks at me, I know where I’m going to make my move and he puts it in and I got on the end of it.”
Biting Back: Rooney a risk for England
Selecting Wayne Rooney for England’s final group game against Ukraine tonight is a no-brainer.That does not mean, however, that the selection is without risk.Some Analysis sait at the moment ” While England took care of business against Sweden with a 3-2 win, they really could have used his services against France, in a game where their offensive chances were few, thus resulting in a 1-1 tie. Ties aren’t the end of the world in a tournament like Euro 2012, but those extra points could have been helpful, as now England is second in Group D with four points, and its next opponent right behind it with three in Ukraine.
England could have really used the scoring touch of Rooney, but there’s no going back at this point. The only thing Rooney can do is help his team moving forward now that he is eligible, and he can start with a superstar performance against Ukraine.”
Rooney’s talent as a footballer is beyond doubt, and that’s why England manager Roy Hodgson is changing a winning team to accommodate him.
England Draw Pain in Ukraine:
Both teams have to go for the win on Tuesday night: Ukraine just to qualify at England’s expense and England hoping to top the group and avoid a clash with Spain in the quarter-finals
t’s a night when the fate of both nations could ride on the shoulders of their number 1 strikers with Wayne Rooney returning from suspension for England but Andriy Shevchenko rated only 50/50 for this game after aggravating a knee injury against France.
It could also be a night which sees a repetition of Euro 2008, with both co-hosts bowing out of the tournament at the group phase.
Both teams have similar records over their last 30 competitive matches (Ukraine at home, England abroad). Ukraine have won 15 (50%), drawn 10 (33.3%), and lost only 5 (16.7%), scoring 47 goals and conceding 25 (average goals per game 2.40).
England have won 18 (60%), drawn 7 (23.3%), and lost only 5 (16.7%), scoring 48 goals and conceding 22 (average goals per game 2.33).
Ukraine have 15 clean sheets (50%), as opposed to England’s 16 (53.3%); Ukraine have scored and shutout their opponents on 11 occasions (36.7%), whilst England have managed this 13 times (43.3%).
The stats are close all across the board and both teams have even played under 3.5 goals in 22 of their last 30 competitive matches each (again, Ukraine at home, England abroad).
This game will undoubtedly be a cagey affair and although Ukraine have to win, we don’t expect them to go ‘gung ho’ until later in the match if things are getting desperate, or sooner if they go a goal behind.
They will be wary of England’s goal threat, especially on the break, and should England score first it could possibly break the Ukrainian spirit, another reason why we don’t think there will be too many goals in this encounter with perhaps just 1 (or neither) team scoring.
Kick Off is at 20.45 CET at a TV near you or at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk
England: Joe Hart, Glen Johnson, Joleon Lescott, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Theo Walcott, Steven Gerrard, Scott Parker, Ashley Young, Danny Welbeck, Wayne Rooney
Ukraine: Pyatov, Khacheridi, Mikhalik, Selin, Tymoshchuk, Aliyev, Yarmolenko, Nazarenko, Konoplyanka, Dvich, Voronin